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Exclusive: Sheffield Steelers' NHL prospect - as you've never seen him before

Liam scores his first goal
Liam scores his first goal

To people on the outside, Liam Kirk is the one-in-a-million Maltby lad who has a unique chance to become an NHL player.

The 18-year-old Sheffield Steelers' prospect who has had scouts all over north America drooling.

To his older brother Jonathan, there is enormous pride and love...but also an extraordinarily rare feeling which comes when your 'annoying and hyper active' brother suddenly blossoms into a much sought-after asset on ice hockey's world stage.

Liam, currently in New York state attending a training and assessment camp, will be in the NHL draft next month, when teams get the chance to pick some of the world's top teenage prospects.

It's a strange sensation for his sibling Jonathan, the 22-year-old defenceman who plays for Hull Pirates and recalls stories of him as a youngster, warts and all.

"I remember Liam going for skating lessons at two and a half years old and being told after he wasn't allowed to come any more as he was disruptive for the rest of the class, as he'd just skate around the ice on his own" said Jonathan, a former Steeldogs player and Great Britain U20 skater.

Liam Kirk - freeflowing skill player

Liam Kirk - freeflowing skill player

"I remember his first goal as a four year old at a Fife tournament as it was the only time we played on the same team."

Jonathan is no expert on the player-jungle that is north American hockey and can't hazard a guess on how he will fare.
"To be honest, I'm not quite sure of the hockey over there and where he will fit or get along

"To me he's still just my little brother and it's very strange to see all the hype around what's going on at the moment.

"I think I speak for my whole family when I say to us he's still just the annoying and hyperactive little brother. I hope he does become a success and will support him all the way through his journey over there.

Jonathan Kirk: picture courtesy of LOIS TOMLINSON

Jonathan Kirk: picture courtesy of LOIS TOMLINSON

"I think he's a very stubborn person, in a good way, he's extremely determined and I've never seen him so committed to something than he has over the past year or so.

"He knows he's the odd one out over at the Combine (American analysis programme) and he's taken it in his stride by working hard to make sure he doesn't stand out in a negative way, physically.

"We couldn't be more proud of him and are just happy to be experiencing this whole experience alongside him

"We are happy for him to have the opportunity he has."

Steeler Kirk

Steeler Kirk

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Within the last week, Jonathan has been re-signed by Hull Pirates, for next season, as they seek to eclipse the achievements of NIHL-league-winning Sheffield Steeldogs.
Hull were pipped by a single point by the iceSheffield team.
For Kirk, the elder, it will be the fourth season on the east coast.
The team's website described him as "one if the greatest assets the club has.
"He is a versatile player who has featured in the forward lines as well as in defence.
"He is a 'team first' kind of player and in three seasons has not missed one game for the Hull Pirates.

"This work ethic and dedication to the team is typical of Kirk, and integral to our identity, he has 139 appearances in a Hull shirt to his name and his is a name we are proud to have on our side."

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